On Jan. 21, 2017, just one day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, Susannah Miller ’19 marched with hundreds of thousands of people through the streets of Boston with signs touting slogans about various issues, ranging from women’s rights to climate change. Packed into Boston Common with the other marchers, she eagerly listened to the speakers campaigning for change and defending human rights. 

On Saturday, Miller was once again among approximately 10,000 Bostonians crowding Cambridge Common for the second annual Women’s March. This year’s march commemorates the first anniversary of Trump’s inauguration and aims to emphasize that Americans will never stop fighting for the issues they care about. 

The event included several speakers, including Tina Chéry, the founder of the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute. Chéry founded the organization after her son Louis D. Brown was “killed in the crossfire of a shootout in 1993.” According to the institute’s website, the organization works to “teach young people the value of peace, focus on the assets in community, and transform society’s response to homicide.” In her speech, Chéry implored marchers to rally for education to prevent gang violence and promote justice for the families of homicide victims. 

Among the thousands of marchers this year were several Brandeis students. In interviews with the Justice, they stated their reasons for participating, their experiences at the march and their respective hopes and expectations for the future. 

Cecelia Templeton ’21 explained that she “marched because there is a lot that needs work in America and women’s rights is an important topic.”

Miller agreed, asserting, “Women are still very marginalized in America, it felt great to be in the presence of other strong women, and [I’m] hoping to see more policies that protect reproductive rights.” 

Templeton added that the energy at the march was almost tangible. “I loved that the atmosphere was charged with compassion and support as well as a mutual hate for the intolerance that is still present in our country,” she said.

Other students cited inequalities in the U.S. as their reason for marching. 

Angus Dawson ’20 explained, “I ‘marched’ because I think it’s important both to support the other demonstrators and to show the world that the inequalities facing women today cannot be and are not being ignored.” 

Dawson stated that he was inspired to be among the marchers and to advocate for government policies that favor gender equality. “Equality in the law is equality in name only; that’s only half the battle, and we can’t think we’ve won or that we’ve appeased women now that everyone is equal under the law and sit back satisfied. Until the societal systems change to reflect that equality, we have not won,” he said. 

The speakers and signs at the march drew upon issues from reproductive rights to transgender rights to Black Lives Matter, often calling out Trump for his controversial tweets and stances.

“In general, those are all issues which I disagree with our president about. I marched to express that disagreement in a vocal way, to make sure I didn’t forget or become [de]sensitized to the horrible things o[u]r president says and does,” Lily Fisher Gomberg ’20 said. 

Gomberg added that Trump has become far more bigoted in the year since his inauguration, and she was inspired by this injustice to march. “Last year, having elected a president who called Mexicans rapists and admitted to assault was a fresh wound. Now, it’s a part of our reality, a scab formed over that wound,” she said. “By marching, I poked at the scab to remind myself and the world that it’s there, and it’s not normal.” 

Gomberg carried a sign with a quote from the Jewish text "Pirkei Avot" which said, “It is not your duty to complete the work [of repairing the world], but neither are you free to ignore it,” a statement befitting the essence of the march.